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Teaching a Classroom Clean Up Routine

Teaching a Classroom Clean Up Routine

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September 11, 2017 | Amanda Munday

When done well. clean up time can be fun and highly productive. The HiMama team recommends these tips for teaching a successful classroom clean up routine and better managing your classroom:

Clean-up Routine Lesson Plans
  • Choose a Clean-Up Song

    One of the most widely used clean-up routine tactics is a dedicated clean up song. When children hear the song begin to play, they know it’s time to start tidying up and finish before the music ends. You may choose to play a recorded song, or sing your own tidy up song together as a class.

  • Use Visual Aids

    Post visual signs around the classroom that encourage tidiness and cleaning up after oneself, especially in activity areas. If a child forgets the classroom clean up rules, simply point to the sign as a reminder!

  • Delegate Tasks

    Divide the classroom into different areas, and assign a clean-up captain for each area at the start of each week. Making a particular child in charge of a certain area will help to teach them responsibility.

  • Make it Educational

    Children love trying to beat the clock. Set a timer for five minutes and tell preschoolers they must finish their cleanup before the time is up. You might choose to reward children if they complete their cleanup tasks before the timer goes off with five minutes of extra play time at the end of the day.

  • Play Simon Says

    Give specific orders such as, “Simon says put the markers back into their containers”. Continue this game after cleanup is over to transition children into your next activity, such as asking them to sit on the carpet for story time.

  • Give Praise

    Offer praise for a tidy-up job well done. Be specific, saying things like, “I really like the way you tidied up the bookshelf” or “Thank you for putting the blocks back in their container”.


Remember to be consistent in your classroom clean up routine. If one method isn’t working, don’t give up! Change up your technique to find out which type of clean up activity your class responds to best. By establishing a routine children can become used to, clean up time will soon be an established part of their day.

Looking for more activity ideas to introduce to your preschoolers? You might like the following resources from the HiMama Blog: